Authentic Tamil-Brahmin Sambhar

The main feature of authentic food of Tamil-Brahmin community is Satvik food influenced by traditional Ayurvedic beliefs.

They strongly believe the food occupies an indispensable place in shaping one’s personality and traits. There are certain spices and root vegetables like garlic and shallots which are avoided during auspicious days, which are believed to stimulate aggression. And instead of red chillies, black pepper is used on some occasions.

Guests at Tamil-Brahmin marriages never miss the meals served on the banana leaf. Different items on the leaf are served in a specific order and a particular place is allotted for each item. Pickles, chips, papads, which are to be consumed in lesser quantity, are served on the narrow side of the leaf. Vegetable gravies and fried dishes such as curry, kootu, poriyal and pachadies are served on the broader side of the leaf.

Considering the food habits of older guests at the wedding, the lunch is cooked traditionally with fresh spices. Garlic and onions never find the place in the palate of main course menu served after the marriage muhurtham

Split chickpeas (Chana Dal), split pigeon peas(Toor Dal) and Split peas can be used interchangeably. Toor dal will cook faster than the others. Red Lentils (Masoor Dal) can be used instead of Petite yellow lentils (Mung Dal).


3-4 – Bite-sized pieces of cut drumstick, yellow pumpkin and brinjal
2 cups – Tamarind juice, extracted from a small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
100g – Toor dal, pressure cooked until the dal is soft
1 tsp – Sesame oil
1/4 tsp – Turmeric powder
Salt – To taste

For seasoning

1/2 tsp – Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp – Fenugreek seeds
2 – Red chillies
1 – Green chilli

To garnish

5 sprigs – Curry leaves and Coriander leaves

For the sambhar masala

2 tsp – Sesame oil
2 tbsp – Coriander seeds
1 tbsp – Bengal gram
1 tsp – Black gram
6 – Dried red chillies
1/4 tsp – Fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp – grated coconut


* To make the sambhar masala, heat a pan with 2 tsp of oil.
* Fry the coriander seeds, Bengal gram, black gram, red chillies and fengugreek seeds until golden brown.
* Finally, add the grated coconut and fry for a while.
* Cool the mixture and grind to a powder.
* Boil the vegetables in tamarind juice with turmeric powder and salt.
* Add some water if necessary. When the vegetables are boiled add the boiled toor dal and allow it boil for 2 minutes.
* Then, add the sambhar powder and mix well. Garnish with curry leaves and Coriander leaves.
* Add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chillies, green chillies and hing powder that have been tempered in a tsp of oil.
* Serve hot.

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